Composition notes follow.
Just say, "When".
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the Rusty Dragon. I am here to tell you a story, and should remind you, before we start, that just because you are now being entertained, you should by no means stop consuming alcohol. Alcohol pays for the roof. Of course, if you want to give ME money directly, there is a hat on the edge of the stage.
I tell stories. I also make beer and whisky, but not on stage. My name is Uinofaer, which is Ulfen for "pale ghost". It's hard to pronounce, but sounds kind of like, "whenever", which is close enough for me. You want me, just say, "When."
Or maybe not. Yesterday I met a barbarian, and he very definitely wanted me. And... You should have seen him. Tall, lean, shoulders that wouldn't go through a normal door, hips narrower than mine. He invited me back to his room or his tent or his yurt or wherever it is that barbarians take people to get naked and horizontal, and I said, "No." It HURT. It has been a long time, and it hurt a LOT. He was... Well, not shocked, but surprised. I'm not bad, particularly if you like tall and thin and scarred, but he was WAY out of my league. He wanted to know why I had turned him down, and I said it was a long story, and I didn't have time to tell it properly just then, because I had to go find some ice water to soak in, but that I would tell the story here tonight.
Is he here? Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Golchak. Ladies, if you go home with him, remember that I get a finder's fee. Gods. I am going to have strangely pleasant nightmares about this for YEARS.
So... When I was a little girl, I was told that I needed to be chaste and demure if I wanted to attract a worthwhile husband. But I was also told that, since I was a half-breed foundling, I would NEVER attract a worthwhile husband. I thought about this, and realized that there was probably an alternative to being chaste and demure that they didn't want to talk about, so the first chance I got, I tried out being brash and promiscuous, and found out that it was a LOT of fun.
And then I got captured by goblins. They took me to their leader, and he decided he liked me, and threw a charm spell at me, and invited me to share his bed, and his lice, and his fleas. He didn't mention the lice and the fleas; they were more of a package deal.
Do you know how charm spells work? Zap, and suddenly the caster is your best friend in the whole world, and you REALLY want to make him happy. It doesn't really change YOU, though, just the way you see the guy who threw the spell. So if you are a happily married woman who BELIEVES in fidelity, a charm spell will not get you into bed with a stranger. On the other hand, if you think that being naked and horizontal with one of your dozen or so closest friends is a good way to pass the afternoon, you're GONE.
And then the spell wore off, and I was still a prisoner. And then the next night, another spell, more lice and fleas... It went on for a long time. Before long I found out why a goblin could throw charm spells: He wasn't a goblin at all, he was a barghest in a goblin's shape. I found that out when he ate another prisoner in front of me. And then he hit me with another spell, and it was back to the flea circus.
Eventually, I got away, but that is another story. And once I got back to civilization, I tried to figure out how I could make sure nothing like that ever happened again. I tried celibacy for a while; if you take a vow of celibacy every year, it will protect you from charm spells in the meantime. But that wasn't the answer I wanted, because, well, there are men like Golchak in the world, and believe me, celibacy is NOT a satifactory long term solution.
And then I became a preistess of Cailean, and I figured it out. Female clergy, male deity. Male deity has female deity friends, friendly female deities have male clergy. So I took a vow that I would only have sex with priests of goddesses who were cordial with Cailean. It works pretty well. We create a sacred space, deities are invoked, naked, horizontal, and who knew sacraments could feel like this?
It works pretty well, except that eligible priests who are actually free to participate in such activities are not NEARLY as available as I would like, so it has been, as I said, a LONG time. SUCH a long time. But if any of you happen to actually BE a priest who meets the criteria, you know where to find me.
Just say, "When."
Every specific element in this story dates from 2017, though of course everything I write is textured by the contents of my cranial attic.
I got a couple of Pathfinder comic book omnibuses as belated Christmas presents a few weeks ago, read through them, and got a bit interested in the Pathfinder role playing game. Dug through my archives, found a few things, bought a few things, started to assemble a female cleric character. Female because I have been ruminating a great deal lately on the differences gender makes in protagonists for fantasy fiction, and a cleric because I had recently realized that, even though I have NEVER played a cleric character in a D&D-descended RPG, my characters almost always turn into healers. The character that developed was a Barbarian for one level, then a Bard for one level, and THEN a Cleric, and I found myself contemplating reasons for that path to develop. The "captive of the barghest" story presented itself, and I tried to turn away from it, because the whole "rape as part of character development for female characters designed by men" is trite and problematic and I REALLY wanted nothing to do with it. Except... Uin (When) was stuck in my head and would not go away. And then this morning the story above blasted itself into my head in nearly complete form. I fought it for about an hour, because I had things to do, and then stopped fighting and wrote it in well under 90 minutes. I like it. It might ignite a minor firestorm, and I am not happy about that. I have thought about it a great deal, and have concluded that the damage this story might do to the world if I let it out is less than the damage it will do to my sanity if I don't. We shall see.